As mobile gaming continues to grow in popularity developers will be tasked with staying ahead of the curve and finding new and innovative ways to both reach gamers and hold their attention. Given that we live in a mobile first world with consumers spending increasing amounts of time in apps, it’s only a matter of time until eSports makes its way to the mainstream. In fact, eSports already has a global audience of over 131 million and the industry will continue to gain popularity this year. Traditionally used on console devices for competitive gamers, eSports is now making its way to mobile devices, making it accessible to even the most casual user. This will open up the industry to whole new audience of mobile users
Here are five key ways eSports will impact mobile gaming this year:
Casual gamers will discover eSports
As eSports gain more momentum among hardcore gamers, it will make its way into the mainstream and gain popularity among casual, everyday gamers. In fact, last year alone, eSports was projected to bring in $493 million and current projections indicate eSports will bring in over $1.1 billion by 2019. This means more and more players and advertisers are investing time and money into this industry. As eSports become more accessible, 2017 will mark a year where eSports will become more ubiquitous among casual gamers as they discover that brands are running mobile tournaments for real rewards and begin to participate themselves.
Rewarding top players
With the rise of eSports, mobile marketers and developers will see the immense value in giving monetary rewards to top players for their skills. Driving continuous user engagement, rewarding top players will incentivize them to keep playing and encourage other users to play and engage with the gaming app to win the coveted spot as a top player. These rewards will drive real results for game publishers by producing long term engagement with the game.
Engaging group play
App developers will begin to see the value in encouraging group play and competition among users. Leveraging eSports will help optimize user acquisition strategies and will encourage users to get their friends to play these gaming apps as well. In fact, app publishers who have already started taking advantage of eSports dynamics and encouraging competition among groups of players have found great success. For example, Renatus, a casual gaming company, found that adding a tournament style element that rewards top players led to a significant lift in engagement. In the first 48 hours alone, tournament users performed 33 percent better than organic users.
As eSports continues to gain in popularity among gamers, advertisers’ attention will shift even more to mobile, and more brands will become willing to sponsor eSports tournaments. Last year, brands were projected to spend over $463 million on eSports, and as the industry continues to grow, more brands will allocate ad spend to eSports. Sponsoring and putting ad spend towards eSports tournaments will prove to be both an efficient and effective way at initiating quality, branded interactions with an already highly engaged and eager audience.
As new and more innovative gaming platforms, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices, become available to consumers, eSports will make another shift to accommodate these software and hardware changes. This will again mark an additional opportunity for game developers to reach a new pool of potential players, and for brands and advertisers to better reach consumers. As these technologies become engrained in the devices of mobile users, games that were previously of interest to only hardcore fans will become more accessible to the casual gamer, as was the case with Pokémon Go and its utilization of AR. This immersive experience already creates an engaged audience, and the incorporation of tournaments will serve to further cement players as hyper-loyal users. As eSports continue to prove itself as a highly effective way to initiate competition and overall engagement, the industry will adapt to meet newer gaming platforms and reach gamers of all levels.
The eSports industry is already making headlines. From a constantly growing pool of competitors and spectators, the next natural transition is for eSports to make its way onto mobile devices and become easily accessible to casual gamers. By creating opportunities for app developers, advertisers, and gamers, eSports’ transition to mobile will mark a huge transition throughout the year and will change the overall mobile gaming landscape.
This was a guest post from Alex Kalish, Vice President of Engineering at Meed. All opinions expressed are those of the author and not eSports Pro or it’s staff. If you would like to submit a guest post for consideration to eSports Pro please email Mike Stubbs on firstname.lastname@example.org .